Sideline Report: High School football playoffs edition

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Senior Braden Shaw proves to be the biggest sports fan. Ever.

Braden Shaw, JagWire editor-in-chief

I knew this season would be interesting. Coming off a 5A state football title, there had to be some drop off. The team graduated 21 seniors and had the best year in school history with a 12-1 record (their only loss coming to Staley). Pair with the league change to the Eastern Kansas League, anything could happen.

Another change this season is the playoff format. The bracket is split up into two sections — 16 East teams and 16 West teams. The first “round” of the playoffs is used as a seeding/qualifying round for the final 16 teams in the state. So yes, the first round is still the postseason, but it’s used more as a preliminary round to include all of the teams.

After that, the remaining eight in the East will play each other and the remaining eight in the West will play each other through regionals, sectionals and sub-state. The last team standing in the East will then take on the last team in the West for the state championship.

football-graphic
Graphic by Margaret Mellott


So here we are, looking towards the 2016 playoffs as Mill Valley look to defend their state title. The Jaguars come into the playoffs with a record of 4-4 which got them the five seed in the East bracket. Even though that seems like an average record, keep in mind the four losses are to two 6A schools — Blue Valley and Blue Valley North — a 4A powerhouse in Bishop Miege and a 40-33 nail-biter to St. Thomas Aquinas. So you could say the switch to the EKL has the team prepared for the playoffs.

Their first matchup is at home against No. 12 Sumner Academy, who’s coming in with a record of 2-5. I wouldn’t worry about them too much considering their losses are to Atchison, Eudora, Schlagle, Wyandotte and Washington. So I’d be surprised if the Jaguars dropped this first game.

Looking towards the next game, the Jaguars would play the winner of No. 4 Pittsburg vs. No. 13 Blue Valley Southwest, more than likely away. I’m honestly not sure who will win this game. Blue Valley Southwest is the underdog, especially with a record of 1-7. But their one victory is against St. Thomas Aquinas and they had a rigorous schedule and the Jaguars previously beat them earlier this season.

With all that in mind, the Jaguars have a legitimate shot at another title run. The difficult regular season schedule really is going to pay dividends in the postseason. 

To get through the East, the two teams that we need to watch out for are the highly rated No. 2 Topeka Seaman and of course No. 3 St. Thomas Aquinas. Every other team we’ve either already beaten or match up well against.

If we were to get to the state title game, that would be where things get interesting. The West has some powerhouses of teams, such as No. 1 Wichita Heights, No. 4 Goddard and the assumed favorites in this entire bracket, No. 2 Great Bend. If I had to bet, the 5A state title might come out of this side of the bracket.

I don’t believe that the Jaguars will repeat as state champions, but they have as much of a chance as any team, especially to at least make it to the title game thanks to their bracket.

No matter what happens, it should be another exciting postseason and don’t be surprised if the Jaguars have more hardware at the end of it all.

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